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Aluminum as an Inclusion

 

This is part three of a series on using aluminum as an inclusion in glass.  Click here to go to part one.

Although inclusions with aluminum tend to be fully fused most of the time, interesting effects sometimes emerge when firing to a lower temperature.  For example, firing an aluminum inclusion to around 1250 to 1300F (675 to 700C) will fuse the edges of the glass together but still leave the aluminum intact.  The paint on soft drink cans, for instance, will lose its color and darken, but the text will still remain legible.  See the photo below for an example:

Since aluminum tends to be non-reactive with other substances, it is usually one of the safest metals for experimentation in the kiln.  However, there are two situations that call for care when working with aluminum:

First, take care that stray pieces of aluminum don't fall onto the kiln shelf.  It's possible for the pieces to eat through the kiln wash and into the kiln shelf.  It's not hazardous, but it can be a mess to clean.

Second, avoid experimenting with aluminum powder, which can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.  It's also flammable and can burn violently at temperatures above 1400F/760C.  Other forms of aluminum are generally fine in the kiln, but to be safe it's a good idea to avoid the powder.

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Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.  All rights reserved.

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Copyright 2005-2006 by M. Bradley Walker.  All rights reserved.

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